Draft law provides German federal police with additional rights

Europe
Thu, 21 Dec 2023 7:46 GMT
Legal basis of German Federal Police has been comprehensively reformed for first time in almost 30 years.
Draft law provides German federal police with additional rights

The German federal government approved a draft bill Wednesday that was presented by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser to restructure the Federal Police Act

The federal government primarily agreed on more powers for the federal police in the fight against those who smuggle humans, according to a statement.

Police officers are to be granted new rights for telephone surveillance and the use of drones and other unmanned vehicle systems, if a threat is detected.

In certain cases, it also applies to the collection of traffic data. A court order will be required to identify and locate mobile phones. 

The draft law also provides all applicants and employees of the Federal Police to be subject to security checks. It is intended to prevent "extremist individuals from attempting to work for the Federal Police," said the Interior Ministry.

The federal government wants to ensure more "proximity to citizens and transparency." A legitimation and identification requirement for federal police officers is intended to ensure that is the case.

It means that in the future, those who have been checked will have the right to be issued a certificate of search. It should state the reason for the measure.

The law also contains new regulations on data collection and the use of informers and undercover investigators. 

"Today, we have launched the reform of one of the most important security laws in our country and implemented another project of the coalition agreement. Our reform brings the Federal Police Act up to date. We are creating the best conditions to consistently counter the current threats," said Faeser.

The Federal Government Commissioner for Migration and Anti-Racism, Reem Alabali-Radovan from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), praised the law.

"The inclusion of the ban on racial discrimination in the new Federal Police Act is an important signal! There will also be more transparency during checks: A receipt stating the reason for the check must be issued on request,” she wrote on X. 

Criticism came from the opposition CDU, however.

"The Government plans for a reform of the Federal Police Act are outdated and place their own police officers under general suspicion," Alexander Throm, CDU's domestic policy spokesperson, wrote in a statement.

Most of the old law dates to 1994 and is therefore almost 30 years old. The draft law still has to be approved by parliament, the Bundestag.

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